The Family Gap

Dec 30, 2020 | Featured Essays, Recent Articles, The Spectator

In a speech to the Federalist Society in November, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito reiterated his concern that ‘in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right’. Small wonder that the subject was on his mind. A week earlier, the Court had heard oral arguments in the latest religious-liberty case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In it, Catholic Social Services — one of some 30 agencies used by the city to place foster children in private homes — claimed religious exemption for its policy of placing kids in traditional mom-and-dad family settings.

So far, one might think, so unremarkable: a Catholic agency conforms its good works to Catholic principles. But what about nontraditional couples — like those of the same sex? As it happens, CSS was not approached by any such couples looking for kids — likely because all the other 30 agencies are available to them. In fact, CSS would even refer same-sex couples to those other agencies, if needed. Thus far, at least, Philadelphia seems to have enjoyed a live-and-let-live solution to a pluralist polity in which diverse points of view coexist. No one appears to have suffered from CSS’s policies, and many kids seem to have been helped.

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